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voici vs. voilà

I would like to have a better sense of when it's appropriate to use voici vs. voilà. From what I've heard, you always using the former when referring to yourself, eg. "Me voici.", ie. "Here I am." And I would think it would always be "voici" for items the speaker is holding, eg. "Voici les clés." (Here are the keys.) But I've often noticed that "voilà" is used in such a case. And it seems to me in general, from what I've heard, that "voilà" is much more common, indeed that "voici" is almost never used outside the phrase "me voici".

However, I just missed a question here in Duolingo where I used "voilà" and they came back and told me I should have used "voici". I think the sentence was something like "Voici un peu d'argent pour que tu achètes du pain"

I'd love to get better insight to when "voilà" is more approriate and when "voici" is and whatever situations there might be where either would be appropriate.

Thanks in advance.

December 20, 2017



I found a good link with some insightful comments. I'm posting it here for others who might be interested:


Here is a useful quote from that link:

"Voici and voila are both a combination of "vois" (which is the imperative form of the verb "voir", which means "to see") and "ici" (here) or "là" (there). Therefore, you will often use "voici" for the closest object you describe, and "voilà" for the farthest.

"In practice, you can almost always use either of them, even though "voici" has a more formal / elegant use and will sometimes sound silly, unless you are a waiter, or speaking to important people. My advice: in case of doubt, always use "voilà" - much more common. "


PS I suppose "Me voilà" would be used if you saw yourself in a photo or on a TV screen or something, ie. in a situation where the "me" you're referring to is not in your direct proximity.

But what about if you are in a room with a friend and you hear someone ask from another room where that friend is and you should wish to respond? Would it be appropriate to say "La voici" or would "La voilà" feel more natural in such a situation?

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